Highlight of potato conclave, Conference, AgriExpo and Field Day: Modi

The highlight of the 3rd Global Potato Conclave is that Potato Conference, AgriExpo and Potato Field Day are all happening at the same time. This observation was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the conclave at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, through video conferencing on Tuesday.Modi pointed out that it is a commendable effort that 6,000 farmers are going on field visits on the Field Day.Scientists around the world, potato farmers and other stakeholders have gathered for the conclave to discuss the important aspects related to food and nutrition demand in the next few days.The Prime Minister said that it is significant that the conclave is being held in Gujarat, the leading state in potato production and productivity in the country. He said that while the area under potato cultivation increased by about 20% in India in the last 11 years, it has increased by about 170% in Gujarat during the same period.Modi said that this is largely owing to the policy initiatives and decisions which lead to the state using modern methods of agriculture like sprinkler and drip irrigation for cultivation, along with the best cold storage facilities and linkages to the food processing industry. He said that today Gujarat has major potato processing companies and most of the potato exporters are based in the state. These have led to the emergence of the state as a major potato hub in the country.The Prime Minister said that his government is taking rapid steps towards the goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022. He added that as a result of the efforts of farmers and the combination of government policy, India is among the top three countries in the world in the production of many cereals and other food items. He also listed the steps taken by his government to promote food processing industries at every level like opening the sector to 100% FDI, helping in value addition and value chain development through PM Kisan Sampada Yojana.Modi mentioned that earlier this month, a new record has been created by transferring an amount of Rs 12,000 crore to the bank accounts of six crore farmers through direct transfer. He mentioned that the priority of his government is to reduce middlemen and other layers between the farmer and the consumer. He said that the government’s emphasis is also on promoting agricultural technology-based startups so that farmers’ databases and agri stacks needed for smart and precision agriculture can be used.The Prime Minister urged the scientists to provide solutions to various issues in agriculture through modern biotechnology, artificial intelligence, block chain, drone technology. He said that the greatest responsibility of the scientific community and policy makers is to see that no one is left hungry or malnourished.BackgroundThe conclave will provide an opportunity to bring all stakeholders at one common platform so that all the issues are discussed and future plans are made involving everyone related to the potato sector. This will be a unique event to expose different stakeholders of the country to the frontiers of knowledge and innovations in potato research.The Potato Conference will be held for three days. It will have 10 themes out of which eight themes are based on basic and applied research. The remaining two themes will have special emphasis on potato trade, value chain management and policy issues.AgriExpo will be organised during January 28-30, 2020, to showcase the status of potato-based industries and trade, processing, seed potato production, biotechnology, public-private partnership in technology transfer and farmers related products.Potato Field Day will be organised on January 31, 2020. This will include demonstration of advancements in potato mechanisation, potato varieties and latest technologies.Major issues that are to crop up are shortage of planting material, supply chains, post-harvest losses, needs for enhanced processing, export and diversified utilisation and necessary policy support – viz for production and use of certified seed, for long distance transport and export promotion.The conclave is being organised by Indian Potato Association (IPA) in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, and ICAR-Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla, and International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru.

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